What are the frequently asked ISB questions?

Have you got an interview call from the ISB? If yes, first things first, Congratulations!

Indian School of Business is a global Business school right in India. It is currently ranked at the 28th position in the Financial Times Global MBA rankings. Hence, it is not a surprise that a business school of such reputation and standard would have a very robust admission process. GMAT was just the tip of the iceberg. The depth of the difficulty of ISB’s admissions is most evident in its interview rounds.

Facing seasoned industry experts, highly-qualified professors and competent ISB alumni and students is not an easy task for anyone. Thus, interviews at ISB need a strong strategy and a great deal of preparation.

One of the obvious steps of ISB interview prep should be researching the frequently asked questions in the interviews and being well prepared with the answers. Reading real-time interview experiences would also help you a lot to understand the intensity of the questions. You can read interview experiences here

Don’t Worry! We have reduced your burden on this one step. We have put together a comprehensive list of most frequently asked questions in ISB interviews and how should you prepare to answer them.

Let’s look at the most common questions area-wise to interpret and strategize better:

The Initial Questions:

  • Introduce Yourself
  • Tell us about yourself
  • Walk us through your resume
  • How are you feeling today?
  • How do you think your teammates describe you?

Basically, no matter how they phrase it, 90% of the times the first question would be to tell about you. The way you answer your first question would lay the foundation for the rest of your interview. Hence, write down the qualities that you want to highlight about yourself and work on your life story to be able to narrate it in a positive and impressive manner. A follow-up question would also be asked from the way you answer this question. Hence, it is given that you must be very well prepared to give a well thought out answer.

About MBA and B-School related Questions:

  • Why do you want to do an MBA?
  • How does an MBA fit in your long-term career plan?
  • What are your long-term goals for yourself? (Rephrased: Where do you see yourself 5 or 10 years down the line?)
  • If you don’t get through, what would be your alternative career plan?
  • Why ISB?
  • Did you get through in any other business schools?
  • Why do you want to do an MBA now and not later in your life?
  • How is ISB important for a value addition to your long-term goals?
  • Why should we select you? (or Convince us that you can add value or diversity to ISB)
  • What aspects of the life at ISB interest you?
  • How you will be able to manage to cope up with the hectic life at ISB?
  • Would you be able to find time for your interests/ hobbies with the hectic life of ISB?

To be able to answer these questions you would need to have your short-term and long-term career and personal goals very clear. You need to convince them that MBA fits in the bigger picture of your career goals. You need to be able to defend your answer in case there are any follow up questions.

You also need to have a clear idea regarding life at and after ISB. How are your career goals in line with what ISB has to offer… Why ISB? is asked to almost all the interviewees. Therefore, you need to have a focused and precise answer to this question. You should also research the schedules and life of ISB students to give a better answer to the life@ISB questions. Basically, through all these questions they are trying to assess if you would be able to cope up with the hectic schedule of ISB or not and if you have a good clarity on your goals.

Questions regarding your skills and personality traits:

  • Have you ever played the role of a leader?
    • If yes, what difficulties you faced and how did you overcome them?
  • Tell us about a risky decision you made.
  • How do you confront a teammate if they go wrong?
  • How well can you take feedback from a team member?
  • Did you ever motivate anyone? If so, how?
  • Have you ever used your analytical skills in a project? If so, give us an example.
  • What was the biggest achievement of your career and why that one?
  • What was the lowest point in your career? How did you deal with it?
  • Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses and how do you plan to overcome them?
  • Is there any instance in your career which you would do over? If so, how would you do it differently?
  • Tell us something about yourself which is not mentioned in your profile.

This set of questions would be mainly asked to analyze the skills and strengths you have mentioned in your profile. Also, ISB admission officers would be looking for candidates with strong leadership, communication, team management, and analytical skills. They test the candidates in the interview to ascertain if they possess these skills or not. Thus, make sure you back up your answers with very strong examples from your career and life. Even in your other answers try to highlight these skills in you.

Background related questions:

  • Questions related to your past projects and the work experience.
  • Questions related to things you learned to through experiences at work.
  • Questions related to other interests and achievements in extracurricular activities.
  • How much have you explored your interests? How do you plan to grow your interests further?

It is important for elite B-schools, for their students to be well-rounded. Hence, they dig deeper into the professional as well as extracurricular achievements of the candidates. They want to know how you grew with the experiences you have had in your career. Be ready with two to three professional experiences that have strongly impacted you at work.

High achievements in extra-curricular activities are also much appreciated. Be ready to face questions about your hobbies and interests. If any of your interviewers also share the same interests as you, you would be facing more in-depth questions in that area.

Technical Questions:

  • Questions related to case studies or problem-solving in the area of expertise
  • Hypothetical scenarios where they would test your management/ negotiation or team player skills.

You can expect technical questions in the interview which would be focused around the MBA specialization you are interested in and the area of expertise you come from. These questions are asked to primarily understand your level of confidence and expertise in your industry and field.

General Knowledge Questions:

  • Questions related to important people and events in the country and the world.
  • Questions related to events in your field of interest.

You need to know your current affairs and world affairs before walking into that interview room. As a potential candidate, the interviewers expect you to be aware of what is going on in the world and have an informed opinion on it. There are greater chances of you facing general knowledge questions pertaining to your industry or area of interest.

Generally, the closure question in the interviews would be:

  • Do you have any questions for us?

It is better to have a smart question for the panel which would help you know more about the programs or life at ISB. This is a very good opportunity to make use of if you want to know more information about the Business School or its program than what is available on a public forum.

The interview process might be difficult, but it is not impossible to crack with focused preparation. Put on your confidence and a pleasant smile while you are answering the questions in the interview. Walk in the room with self-confidence. All the Best for your Interview!